College of Health and Human Performance

Celebrating Jalie A. Tucker, Mary F. Lane Professor in Health Education & Behavior

Celebrating Jalie A. Tucker, Mary F. Lane Professor in Health Education & Behavior

Jalie A. Tucker, Ph.D., M.P.H., at the installation ceremony on November 29, 2023. View more photos. Photos by Tanya Consaul.

December 11, 2023

On November 29, members of the University of Florida community and guests celebrated the installation of Jalie A. Tucker, Ph.D., M.P.H., as the Mary F. Lane Professor in Health Education & Behavior. The ceremony, held at the College of Health & Human Performance, recognized Dr. Tucker’s outstanding contributions to the field and marked a significant milestone in her esteemed career.

Michael Reid, Ph.D., dean, welcomed guests and expressed his pride in the accomplishments of Dr. Tucker and the prestige of an endowed professorship, named after Mary F. Lane, an alumna and loyal supporter of the university. Reid explained the rarity of an endowed professorship and the journey scholars undertake to reach such a pinnacle in academia.

In the introduction, Mildred Moldonado-Molina, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Health Education & Behavior, highlighted Dr. Tucker’s extensive career spanning four decades and her return to UF in 2014 as department chair and the founding director of the Center for Behavioral Economic Health Research in 2016.

The celebration provided a platform to learn more about Dr. Tucker’s research, specifically about the behavioral economics of addictive behavior change within the context of reducing alcohol-related risks and problems. She pointed out that despite all the other drug problems highlighted in the media, alcohol-related problems are still the most prevalent by far.

Dr. Tucker offered insights into past research, emphasizing that incentives and support for sobriety and harm reduction prove more effective than punitive measures. She emphasized natural recovery as the dominant pathway to problem resolution and explained how behavioral economics analyzes spending patterns on alcohol and other commodities to understand how preferences shift between alcohol and non-drinking commodities during recovery attempts.

During a comprehensive study which lasted more than 20 years, Tucker and fellow researchers looked at spending patterns of problem drinkers attempting natural recovery who successfully moderated their drinking habits and how their spending shifted toward bigger ticket items, like durable goods, housing and insurance.

In another line of research, her ongoing NIH/NIAAA grant funded project, the "UF Horizons Study," was spotlighted for its novel web-based behavioral economic intervention disseminated within peer social networks using peer-driven sampling. The intervention trial is aimed at reaching underserved community groups of emerging adult risky drinkers to promote their engagement in alcohol-free rewarding activities.

To commemorate the occasion, Dean Reid presented Dr. Tucker with a medal, expressing appreciation for her contributions. Attendees were invited to a reception celebrating Dr. Tucker and her accomplishments.

The ceremony and lecture was live streamed and available to watch on YouTube.

The endowment of faculty positions at the University of Florida's College of Health & Human Performance plays a crucial role in attracting top talent and enhancing the institution's reputation. Two additional ceremonies for faculty appointments in the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology will be held in the spring. (See details.)

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